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Authorities consider charges in death of West Fargo infant

WEST FARGO – Police have referred the results of an investigation into the death of a 4-day-old infant boy to prosecutors to consider for possible charges.

West Fargo police disclosed the June 14 death on Friday but withheld the name of the dead child on the advice of prosecutors, citing a law involving active criminal investigations.

Emergency responders were called at 1:39 a.m. on June 13 to an apartment in the 2900 block of Seventh Street Southwest with a report that an infant was not breathing and did not have a pulse.

“Basically, we had responded to a medical call,” Mike Reitan, West Fargo police chief, said Friday. “The baby was in full arrest at the time of the call.”

The infant boy, he added, “was in the care of the parents.”

Because of undisclosed circumstances surrounding the child’s death, police were asked to investigate, Reitan said.

At the scene, officers tried to resuscitate the infant, who was taken by ambulance to Essentia Hospital, where he was placed on life support and died the following day.

An autopsy was performed at the University of North Dakota Medical Center in Grand Forks, and law enforcement was asked to investigate the death.

Police would not identify the dead infant and said the investigation has been turned over to the Cass County State’s Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution.

“The case is still under review by the state’s attorney,” Reitan said.

The Cass County prosecutor handling the case, Ryan Younggren, said North Dakota law and court rules protect the identity of child victims.

“Legally it’s prohibited,” Younggren said, explaining why authorities won’t release the name. “The courts are very protective, under the law, of children’s names.”

A decision about whether to charge anyone in connection with the child’s death is expected next week, Reitan said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522